Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Needle and the Damaged Jon


Some days the table is next to the kitchen. Some days this means Jon must be doing needlepoint in the kitchen, or at the other end of the table. I like these joke constructions because they force sense out of two non sequitur panels and encourage reexamination of the strip. The staging is perfect for Garfield because it rings a mental image of plot, movement, human drama and comedy out of a motionless, nonplussed cat at a table with absolutely no on-panel action.

Jon's recent and chaste-even-for-Garfield makeout session with Liz has encouraged one of his most self-destructive and endearing personality traits. The small pleasures he is deriving from needlepoint (or stalking Liz, or phoning Ellen, or being friends with Garfield or waking up in the morning) must outweigh the agony of having his flesh pierced, because he just keeps doing it. Do you find Jon's idiotic perseverance in the face of adversity admirable? Pathetic? It doesn't matter: you better find it funny, because it is the truth about you, too.

Garfield today continues an ambitious tradition of audio-based gags in an essentially silent medium. I like the Todd Klein-esque tortured stem on the word balloon for Jon's cry of pain. A less exaggerated version attaches the singing balloons to Jon's mouth, which either indicates he is singing off-key, or his singing is becoming more forced and anguished as he "la la la"s grimly through the blood and pain.

4 comments:

pelagius said...

I'm slightly ashamed to say it, but this one actually made me laugh out loud. Anything that causes Jon pain is ok in my book.

Anonymous said...

Great post title! Also, nice breakdown as usual!

Tiffany said...

My first time to your site. My husband and I love garfield. I love your blogs. Your "dissection" of the comic is a new spin on an old favorite. Also, as a teacher it gives me great ideas for reading assignments that students will love and meet state standards! Keep up the great job.

Murgatroid said...

If any of my teachers had ever asked me to break down a comic strip from my own point of view, I'd have been more than happy to shed light on the dark and bitterly ironic subject matter that is Garfield.
Also, how low must your state standards be for this kind of thing to meet them?!